Journal July 19, 2020

Published July 27, 2020

1 Samuel 17:45

45  Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.


ROMANS 11:35

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out. 34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? 35 “Or who has first given to Him And it shall be repaid to him?”

Vs 35. Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? In our last journal on verse 34 Paul asked who has known the mind of the LORD, or who has become His counselor? As we consider the questions asked; we found that there was No One that could know the mind of the LORD. Consequently, it follows that No One could become His counselor.  Just think, how could anyone advise God so that He could do a better job of governing this world better or more efficiently? If you consider that, it borders on blasphemy.  Now we are asked who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? Charles Hodge, in his commentary on Romans wrote, “This is not to be confined to giving counsel or knowledge to God but expresses the general idea that the creature can do nothing to place God under obligation. . . Men are justified, not on the ground of their own merit, but on the merit of Christ; they are sanctified, not by the power of their own good purposes, and the strength of their own will, but by the Spirit of God. They are chosen and called to eternal life, not on the ground of anything in them, but according to the purpose who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will. God, therefore, is the Alpha and the Omega of salvation. The creature has neither merit nor power. His hopes must rest on sovereign mercy alone.” In our day we hear of large amounts of money being given to certain causes, and occasionally we find that a certain rich man gave a large amount to a church or religious cause. When it comes to giving money and other wealth to God, I don’t think King David and Israel can be beat in their building fund offering. David was coming to the end of his reign, the building of not build the temple had been his great desire, but God told David because he was a man of war, he could not build the temple, but his son Solomon would build it. So, David submitted to God’s will and started making preparations for Solomon, by collecting all the gold, silver, bronze, iron and precious stones that would be needed. David called for an offering, for his personal share he gave 3,000 talents of gold and 7,000 talents of silver. In our figures this was 110 metric tons of gold and 260 metric tons of silver. The rich families of Israel gave 5,000 talents of gold, 10,000 talents of silver, 18,000 talents of bronze, and 100,000 talents of iron, plus many of the precious stones in their possession. This would total up to hundreds of million of dollars, we can’t give the exact amount. For many this would call for self-congratulation, but not for David, instead of self-praise or praise for the people, David praised God acknowledging that it was because of Him that the people had been able to give as they had given. (See 1 Chronicles 29). Is there anyone that can pretend to have any demands upon God? To whom is He indebted?  Have either Jews or Gentiles any right to His blessings? May not He bestow His favors as He pleases, and to whom He pleases? Did He do any injustice to the Jews in choosing the Gentiles? Was it because He was under obligation to the Gentiles that He has chosen them in the place of the Jews? Our text says very clearly, it shall be repaid to him—but we know that shall never happen! John Gill in his commentary on Romans writes, “No man can give God anything, which He has not first given him, or which He has not a prior right to, or a claim upon him for; Adam in innocence, was not able to give God anything, nor are the angels in heaven, much less sinful men (worms Isaiah 41:16) on earth; their  bodies and souls, and all their enjoyments, all that is good in them, or done by them, are from the Lord; men by all their good works, best duties and services, give nothing to God, nor lay Him under any manner of obligation to them: hence no man can merit anything at the hands of God, if he could, it shall be recompensed to him again; but it is impossible there should be merit in a mere creature, who has nothing, but what he has from God, and does nothing but what he is obliged to do; and that not by his own strength, but by the grace and strength of God; and therefore there is no retribution made by God as of debt, but of grace: hence it follows: that God is indebted to, and obliged by none, and He may do what He will with His on; love Jacob and hate Esau; choose one and not another; reject the Jews, and call the Gentiles; save and justify some, and not others; none can call Him to account, or say unto Him, what dost thou?” How could the Creator be indebted to the creature? How can the Cause be dependent on the effect? How can the Author of providence, and the Father of every good and perfect gift, be under obligation to them for whom He provides, and who are wholly dependent on His bounty?” Albert Barnes in his notes on the Whole Bible writes, “The sentiment in this verse is found substantially in Job 41:11 Who has preceded Me, that I should pay him? The Hebrew word preceded means to anticipate, to go before; and God asks who has anticipated Me; who has conferred favors on Me before I have on him; who has thus laid Me under obligation to him. This is the sense in which the apostle uses the word here. Who has, by his services, laid God under obligation to recompense or pay him again? It is added in Job, everything under heaven is Mine. Thus Paul, contrary to the prevailing doctrine of the Jews, shows that no one could plead his own merits, or advance with a claim on God. All the favors of salvation must be bestowed by mercy or grace. God owned them all; and He had a right to bestow them when and where He pleased. Shall be recompensed—repaid as a matter of debt. None of God’s mercies can be conferred in that way; if they could, man could bring God under obligation, and destroy the freeness and benevolence of His favors.” John Calvin in his commentary on Romans, “Who has first given to Him, etc.: Another reason, by which God’s righteousness is most effectually defended against all the accusations of the ungodly: for if no one retains Him bound to himself by his own merits, no one can justly expostulate with Him for not having received His reward; as he, who would constrain another to do him good, must necessarily adduce (cite as evidence) those deeds by which he has deserved a reward. The import then of Paul’s words is this—God cannot be charged with unrighteousness, except it can be proved, that He renders not to everyone his due: but it is evident, that no one is deprived by Him of his right, since He is under obligation to none; for who can boast of any thing of his own, by which he has deserves His favor? Now tis is a remarkable passage; for we here are taught, that it is not in our power to constrain God by our good works to bestow salvation on us, but that He anticipates the undeserving by His gratuitous goodness. But if we desire to make an honest examination, we shall not only find, that God is in no way a debtor to us, but that we all are subject to His judgment – that we not only deserve no layout (way parts are arranged), but that we are deserving of eternal death. And Paul not only concludes, that God owes us nothing, on account of our corrupt and sinful nature; but he denies, that if man were perfect, he could not bring any before God, by which he could gain His favor; for as soon as he begins to exist, he is already by the right of creation so much indebted to His Maker, that he has nothing of his own. In vain then shall we try to take from Him His own right, that He should not do as He pleases, freely determine respecting His own creatures, as though there was mutual debt and credit.” Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him? Everything under the whole heaven, Mine it is.

That we have nothing to give to God is something Paul has already taught many times in the earlier parts of this letter. Therefore, we should understand it very well by now. Here is a brief review of his teaching. We are justified by grace apart from human works. In the first four chapters of Romans Paul explained the depth of human depravity and impotence showing how God reached out to save us in Jesus Christ completely apart from anything within us. In our sin we think that we can win God over by some good work we do. There are some professing Christians that believe they were saved, singled out by God because of something that was found in them. Paul also teaches we are not even saved by our faith, or a decision that we made, we are saved through faith, the gift of God, no one is saved without this faith. We are sanctified by the Holy Spirit apart from works. This is the point of chapters 5 through 8. This means that just as we have nothing to contribute to our justification, so also, we have nothing to contribute to our sanctification. It is true that there are things we are going to do because we have been saved and we will do them if we truly are saved, but this does not mean that we give God anything in this part of our lives here on God’s earth. The saved sinner has been taken out of Adam and placed in the Lord Jesus Christ, and this is the work of God the Holy Spirit. Now we have a new nature and walk in newness of life. Then verse 9 through 11 teach that what God is doing does not depend upon us either. Paul is teaching that God’s attributes—His love and grace, and His power, justice, and wrath—and to manifest His glory. In our day I fear we have forgotten that God is a monarch. He is the King by whom and for whom all things were made, and by whose sovereign power they are sustained. We exist for His pleasure, not He for ours, we are on His earth to entertain Him; please Him, to adore Him, to bring Him satisfaction, excitement and joy. Any gospel which seeks to answer the question, what is in it for me? has it all backwards. The question is: What is in it for God?

Catechism Question 31

Q: Wherein consists Christ’s exaltation?

A: Christ exaltation consists in His rising again from the dead on the third day, in ascending up into heaven, in sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and in coming to judge the world at the last day.

1 Corinthians 15:4

4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: